Challis wato - An Unpublished Granth
by Mukhi Abdulsultan Rahemtulla
The Granth Challis Waato is an unpublished work attributed to Sayyed Imam Shah. It seems that although Mukhi Lalji Devraj was aware of its existence, it did not get published during his lifetime. Since then it has gone into almost obscurity with its name not appearing in any of the published lists of Granths. The manuscript used for this presentation was found recently in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania. The manuscript is less than a hundred years old and is in excellent condition. The writing is clear and legible. The granth is in prose form and occupies thirty seven pages of the manuscript.
The name Challis Waato literally means forty sayings or short discourses. Although supposedly written By Sayyed Imam Shah, most of the text is a narration of questions and answers between Prophet Mohammed (S.A.S.) and his companions (Ashabs). The dialogue is composed of short discourses or advices given by the Prophet.
The Granth begins with the statement that if a momin (or a group of four) reads or listens to these forty sayings and acts accordingly he will be rewarded on the Day of Judgement by being revived with an eternal spiritual body (noorani kaya). Furthermore, it is said (by the prophet) that whoever establishes a vigil for forty days (Challiso) of praying through the night in Jamat Khana and fasting (during the day) and at the end of period offers food to forty momins, he will have his pious desires and wishes fulfilled. Should one not have the means to feast forty momins, than twenty are accepted. If even feasting of twenty momins is beyond ones means than offering food to one poor person or beggar will be accepted as long as the beneficiary is a Nizari Ismaili.
Thereafter, most of the Granth deals with questions from the companions and answers from the Prophet on the nature of hell and how a momin can avoid it. The discourse contains advices from the Prophet on the actions of the momin which will lead to rewards in paradise. There are forty such questions, answers and discourses, hence the name.
The language of the Granth is relatively simple Gujarati. The Granth is unusual in the sense that not only it offers teachings in the Quranic/Hadith style but it also narrates as said by the Prophet ( "wari Hazrat Rasul (S.A.S) farmaayiu ke...."). Beside the present copy, there are at least two other manuscripts available of the same Granth: one at Harvard University and the other at the ITREB for Pakistan. In conclusion, I hope that with the availability of this Granth in Gujarati, it will be more widely read and hopefully will expose the reader to an additional dimension of the voluminous works of Sayyed Imam Shah.